Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another Lesson Learned

Running has been a marvelous teacher for me in my adult life. I started running in my mid-20's, as a break in my day from being a young mother of two young boys. When I first began, I ran with friends. They were more experienced runners. They encouraged me when the going was hard. We didn't run more than a couple of miles but I thought it was really a huge feat!  I enjoyed the growing sense of well-being and as the months and years went on I began to run with other more enthusiastic runners. They challenged me to run farther and faster.  I began to enter fun-runs and learned the joy of the runners community!  This is how our Christian walk can be. As new-comers to the faith, we are blessed if we have more mature disciples to help us along, encouraging us in our walk.  There is a risk, though that we might never grow past the simple run, that we not press onward to a higher level of faith. Thank God for those who can challenge us to grow in our faith, that like Peter, to get out of the boat and try to walk on water!

Eventually I had grown as a runner so I did not need to always have someone with me to keep me running. The joy of the long, lone run became the most precious time of my day. It was on the country roads that I began to have deep conversations with the Lord. Parables upon parables would come to mind and I grew spiritually. Maturity in the Faith is built on that precious time, one on one with the Lord. Just as I looked forward to my long runs, I looked forward to the  precious alone time with my Lord Jesus!
I learned about perseverance. I learned about discipline. Meditation became easy.  I experienced the spirit, soul, body connection as never before. Then I was injured.

I had never even given my knees a thought in the 20 years of running.  I paid the price. When I twisted my knee at the end of a marathon run, I discovered I had neglected to strengthen my knees. It was an area lacking in my training.  I learned that the body needs complete training. Every muscle and joint needs to be developed. There needs to be balance. When I neglected to train all my body, I opened myself wide to be injured. Similarly, in the walk of faith, even mature seasoned Christians can be injured. Pain can come from any direction and totally blind-side you if you are not prepared. My greatest injury was the death of my son.  What I discovered over the years was, even with all my training as a Christian, I had not learned to dwell in the secret place of the Most High. (Psalm 91) I didn't even know what it was!

Sometimes injuries can take years to recover from.  That was the case for me.  Recently, my knee was completely healed through prayer. Similarly, after several years of agonizing over the loss of our son, through prayer I received understanding on how to live in the secret place, under the shadow of His wing. It is the face to Face place!!  I got back on track with my faith! And after 10 years of being sidelined from running,  I was on the track again and really excited about returning to running.

Then I did a stupid thing.  I tried to walk on the rough outdoor track carrying an 18 month-old. As I held her, she created a blind-spot and in an instant, I didn't see a hole and boom! Down we went. Praise the Lord, I was able to twist and keep her from being severely injured!  But my ankle broke and here I am again, recovering from an injury and out of action.

I have had some time to think about all of this as I gimp around on my grotesque, green cast. (I really was hoping for a pink one!) What God has shown me is I am not supposed to be carrying the burdens! I am supposed to lay them at His feet.  When I carry the burden it creates a blind-spot. I can not see clearly the path that I am on and so can be easily tripped up. Sometimes other people's problems can create soul-ties. Their issues touch a place in our souls that are in need of healing and before you know it, crash! Down you go!

Thankfully, I have taken this time to really press into the Lord for spirit life. And I have remembered to train the entire self!  I have joined a gym and have renewed my mind with the Word of God.  I am praising the Lord in all things and looking forward to each new day.  I am glad this life is a journey not just a destination! And how wonderful that every day is a new beginning in the eternal!!  I am soaring!

Blessings, Anna Marie

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Healing for Relationships

Matthew 5:44-48 
44But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?47And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Jesus is radical.  He has called us to a higher way than we are able to walk in, without His Spirit leading the journey.  I was meditating on this passage this morning before I heard the news that a church in Florida is planning on burning the Koran on 9/11.  I was so grieved to see something like that associated with Christianity, and by association, my precious Jesus.  We are not called to fight evil with evil! 

Usually, this is how I think about this passage.  Loving the clearcut enemy.  Sometimes it is almost easier to love the enemy at large, but what about the times when those close to us act like enemies and say and do hurtful things?  When I think of the incredibly high divorce rate, even among Christians, I can see that we have a hard time living out this passage.  My gut reaction when I am attacked does not always come close to Jesus' admonition. And those times when I am able to bless instead of curse, love instead of hate, I find that I get proud of myself! Is there any hope?  I can only see one way:  I must love the Lord, my God, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind and all my strength, and love my neighbor as myself.  And who is my neighbor? In this shrinking world, for me, it is everyone, but it begins at home.  Evil is not people. Evil can be embodied in people, evil can live in me. But Jesus died for each and everyone of us. He in His infinite mercy knew we couldn't do it.  Thankfully, when we invite him into our hearts and lives, He comes in and empowers us to love as He loves.  
Thank You, Lord Jesus. You have transformed my day, once more.  Once more I recognize my deep love for You and my never-ending need for Your grace.  I love you, Lord